Georgia Metaxas: Mnemosyne Grove - Hardcover


  • Memory is inherently porous and complex, as is memoriam. Our dealings with recollection and loss are personal, familial, and communal in their ambit. They shift and reshape with every conversation, image, and experience of place.
  • Mnemosyne Grove, the debut book from London-based Australian artist Georgia Metaxas, traverses this territory with great sensitivity and poeticism. Using the olive tree as its central motif, the project explores family lineage and tragedy through connections between land, family archives, and storytelling, reflecting on the photograph’s ability to provide a nexus for multiple personal histories – in particular, those of migration, displacement, loss, and return.
  • The book connects two sites of particular familial significance in Greece, with Metaxas journeying between an olive grove bequeathed to her mother’s family in Palairos – where the ancient trees, each named after a woman in the maternal line, have stood sedately for five-hundred years – and Ithaca, the island where her father’s family originated, before migrating to Australia on a British steamship in 1901. Drawing upon Metaxas’s multiple photographic languages, as well as her father’s Super-8 film stills – which he shot on his first and only trip to Greece in the late 1970s, travelling to Ithaca and Palairos with his wife and two daughters in tow – Mnemosyne Grove unfolds amidst an elegiac subtext. That Metaxas’s young father would tragically die during the same journey casts this work in the most poignant of lights – the artist retracing her father’s footsteps, in search of his family’s land and the olive trees that grow from its rugged contours. The symbol of the olive tree, and its branches, shifts in this context. Though intensely personal, Metaxas’s work poses broader questions about our relationship to the land as a community, especially in the age of the Anthropocene.
  • The book is sequenced via a system of visual ‘dactylic hexameters’ and ‘spondees’ adapted from the poetic and rhythmic structures that form the framework and Aide-mémoire for Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey, a work that wrangles kindred themes to Metaxas’s own journey. Like many of her projects, Mnemosyne Grove sees her explore memory and loss as a personally and culturally embodied experience. The past is within us and becomes richer and more complex with every step forward, yet all the more difficult to grasp.

Pages: 192

Size (cm): 15 x 19

Every purchase supports ACMI 

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